January 22, 2009

WASHINGTON -- Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, a former Hennepin County attorney, has been named by Democratic leaders to serve on the Senate Judiciary Committee.

The appointment puts her on the panel that is reviewing the nomination of Eric Holder for U.S. attorney general, one of the more contentious for the new Obama administration.

Klobuchar and Sens. Ted Kaufman, D-Del., and Ron Wyden, D-Ore., were appointed to fill seats vacated by Vice President Joe Biden, Massachusetts Sen. Ted Kennedy and Kansas Sen. Sam Brownback. She called her appointment to the committee, which handles criminal justice, terrorism, human rights and consumer issues, a "tremendous opportunity."

"As a former prosecutor, I have seen firsthand the importance of this committee to ensure that law enforcement has the tools they need to keep our streets safe and ensure equal justice for all Americans," she said. "I also believe it will provide a unique platform to promote consumer rights and fairness."

Klobuchar also is a member of the Commerce, Agriculture, Environment and Public Works, and Joint Economics committees.

As Minnesota's Democratic senator, Klobuchar will also have a role in nominating candidates for the state's next U.S. attorney.

In 2006, Klobuchar became Minnesota's first elected female senator. She made a name for herself on consumer protection and child safety laws. She played prominent roles in legislation that strengthened testing requirements in children's toys after a Minnesota toddler died from swallowing a charm made almost entirely of lead, and increased pool safety laws after a 6-year-old girl suffered an ultimately fatal injury when the suction from an uncovered wading pool drain pulled out part of her small intestine.

Committee chairman Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., said he is confident Klobuchar will be able to step into her new role immediately. "We have often worked together in the past and I know her well," he said. "She will make an outstanding addition to the committee."